The Air I Breathe

Let me share with you a giggle that occurred this week. As we attended our church service on Sunday morning, complete with face masks and all the Covid protocols, our worship leader lead us through This is the Air I Breathe. If you are not familiar with the worship song, it starts like this: This is the air I breathe… and goes on to refer to our need for the Holy Spirit to be the living part of our daily lives. Which is all good. The giggle comes as I was sitting with the words mulling in my brain, breathing, my breath filtered up through my mask and totally clouded my glasses! To the point where I could no longer see the screen where the words were being projected. It struck me in a practical way how real air is. This really was the air I was breathing… right there in my face! We take breathing for granted. It’s only when our oxygen is restricted or otherwise hindered that we become acutely aware of how much it is needed.

I am pretty sure many of you are feeling the restrictions of face masks and shields, and understand what I am getting at here. Perhaps you feel it is an inconvenience. You feel “restricted” and desperate for real air. Living and fresh and clear. On one hand we say we are are suffering at personal levels. But if we see the other side of the coin, the earth is benefitting as a whole. I was listening to a science podcast that was outlining one of the benefits to this worldwide pandemic was that air pollution seems to be on the decrease. Less travel and fewer cars makes for clearer roads. Apparently, neighbouring villages can now see the distant himalayan mountains for the first time in 30 years!

The air around us contains only about 21% oxygen. It’s only a small portion of what we personally need. Nitrogen and other gases make up the rest … not to mention the other particles like dust, mold, water and who knows what. Isn’t it amazing that our bodies can filter through all that stuff to get us what we need… without us even trying.

John 3:8(NASB) says:

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Our new lives in Christ cannot be seen or felt. Much like that of the work in our lives by the Holy Spirit. There is evidence of change… movement, a noticeable difference to the norm. We can’t pinpoint it, nor contain it… but it certainly is there! Like the air we breathe, we take it for granted, and are only reminded of His work when the evidence abounds. Or your mask causes you to get all fogged up. Both trials and joy-filled moments can present fresh air for our spiritual lives. Those moments force us to take notice of the simple things we often don’t “see”. So, my friends, if you are feeling desperate for the Spirit’s work to be evident, you might just have to take a good look around. It’s there. In the fogged up glass amongst the pollution and the stuff of this world. And we are desperate for it, every day.

Beauty Hacks for 2020

I wore jeans this week. Real, official blue jeans with a button and zippered fly. Am I wrong, or has 2020 just killed off any likelihood of people wearing real pants again? We work and play from home via Zoom and we only see the top halves of people anymore, am I right? Not that I was much of a fashionista before the national pandemic. If I really wanted to dress up I put a little lip gloss on… and a special, special occasion warranted a dollop of mascara. I’m quite the plain jane when it comes to make-up.

photo Unsplash

Nonetheless, I do love a good make up tutorial video. It fascinates me what true artists can do with powder and gels! Blending, contour, sparkle. My social medias force me to dabble in the unknown and I am drawn in for fake eyelashes … even the odd drag queen makes me marvel. It truly is art. Especially at this time of year. Whatever you think about halloween or drag, one must agree that painted faces can be cool to look at. Which had me musing…

Who comes up with these things?! Have you seen the latest “trend” of using glue as a fashion accessory? Truly! Superglue on upper lips for that “pumped up look” and a kid’s glue stick for eyebrows! You know that purple glue stick we all used in kindergarten to paste our fall leaves on paper? Apparently it works wonders on the finer points of eyebrow definition… or making them disappear in the case of cover up Halloween displays. Seriously. Dollar store glue sticks. Fascinating.

Interestingly enough, the Bible chats often of beauty and fashion. Frequently referring to vanity and being cautious not to let beauty become “a hindrance”, shall we say. Yet, I read anew some passages in Esther this week and it struck me just how serious our biblical sisters took to such things as beauty — and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with. Let’s read Esther’s first few introductions to her life at the palace:

12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.

Esther 2:12-14

Perhaps I’m reading too much into the story and missing the point of God’s plan for Esther to save her people, but verses are included in the Bible for a reason, right?! Look again. A full year of spa days! Six months of oil drenched massages. I get it. Girl, I’m sure living in the desert does a number on your skin…cracked heels and parched lips. Apparently oils like myrrh and olive were mixed with fragrant fruits and left to sit in the sun until they had infused into “essential oils”. Anyone heard of those today?! Yup, another beauty trend toting wellness and health benefits.

photo by chelsea shapouri

I recently visited a friend’s bathroom and was a little taken aback by the sheer amount of soaps, creams and lotions she had in there! I’m sure many of you can attest to trying out this or that only to find you need another this or that to work with the first one. I’m lucky in that beauty products are not my weakness. (Now pretty paper on the other hand… but we are not talking about that!) Some of you, I know, have drawers of the stuff… half used lipsticks and cakes of powders. It was on sale. Perhaps you are searching for the fountain of youth and are willing to try anything new to cover up the latest wrinkle. No worries. Embrace the lines! We all have our flaws. Yet, I can’t help but wonder … was Esther’s beauty queen status all for not? Obviously King Xerxes thought she was pretty hot. He picked her out from all those other supermodels.

Alas, my friends, I’m not sure I’m ready to raid the piggy bank just yet and go crazy buying pallets from Sephora, or infusing every room in the house with Thieves and cardamom, but it is an interesting thought. Can God use beauty to weave the web of His grand plan? Should we embrace it? Or is it all a worldly ploy? The verdict is out on this one … but I think I may pull out the lipgloss next week, just for fun.

Blessings and Gratitude

We’ve just finished Canadian Thanksgiving. And this year, despite our strange times of isolation and social distancing, we still have a responsibility to continue to love our neighbours and be thankful for the blessings God gives us. Perhaps you’ve been aware of the special people in your life more because you cannot see them as frequently as before. Perhaps you have been in need of more encouragement because you have been the one feeling isolated. In any case, I have been blessed by the words, and the promise given in Psalm 23 that

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Did you realize that is a promise?!

I thought I would add in a little throwback to an email from our 30 Days of Blessings campaign, that many of you completed some time ago. If you did it once…. do it again! If you were not part of our exercise back then, why not try it out this Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving and be Blessed!!